<i>Other Music from a...</i> Different Kitchen <$BlogRSDUrl$>

Friday, October 31, 2003

The realest hip hop interview you will ever read... 

... with Ahmir Thompson (aka Questlove, the iconic drummer/producer with The Roots) from the August 2003 issue of the The Believer magazine can be found by clicking here.

And I'm hoping someone will tell me that this is not a real item for sale.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

So it's not just Bush, Bloomberg & Pataki plus shopping tips from the Skymall and American Way magazines 

So I just got back from a trip from Toronto where this story ("Ontario saddled with $5.6B deficit") was dominating coverage in paper's like The Toronto Star. It's a mystery how conservatives are able to monopolize the fiscally- conservative position in the politcal dialog on economic policy when you see stuff like this!

On my flight back, I was scanning the Skymall and American Way magazines and saw a few interesting things:

Why buy a Segway for $4500 when you can buy a Trikke for $160? I'm not sure how well these things really work but this video makes it seem pretty easy and cool for those into this type of thing. Someone needs to put these in a music video or something.

Sick of colleagues filling their memo's with slick business jargon and trendy buzzwords they learned while getting their MBA or reading the latest useless business how-to tome? Then you need to send them a copy of Bullfighter, a software program created by the Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu consulting firm. Bullfighter helps flag your writing for substance-free business jargon and buzzwords in Microsoft Word and PowerPoint 2000 documents. As described in the software's intro page: "It works a lot like a spelling and grammar checker in those applications, but focuses on jargon and readability" but you can think of it as basically being a business document BS-detector. You can also download it for yourself here.

Finally, for all those lapsed modernists out there looking to jump back into the lifestyle, they may want to consider buying this scooter. The Equinox 2004 not only has a cool retro-style design like the classic Vespa models but, with its electric power system, it's also environmentally-friendly to boot. Upgrade your wardrobe by shopping here (or here and here for the more serious) then buy this DVD and this excellent CD boxset and you're well on your way to becoming the Face in your hood.

Finally props to Mori and Scotti B for throwing a very cool pre-Halloween party last night and letting me spin some old school hip hop and other sounds. I was spinning Davy DMX's "One for the Treble" but getting requests for "Dancing Queen" (hey honey, that's not even from the 80's). Oh well, thank God for the sureshot 80's triumvirate of Michael Jackson, Prince and Madonna for saving my DJ-ing ass and getting the party people moving.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Looks like... 

the hype is real (and there's more of it here).

But here's some useless information for you.

And as if it couldn't get any worse in Iraq, now there's this news.

Looking for a pre-Halloween jumpoff? Check this out featuring me DJ-ing :

takeoutMARKETING and partystarters presents:

80's Halloween Jam (AKA) Most Excellent Halloween Party / Thursday, October 30th

Scottie B and Mori throwing down the 80's classics (New Wave/Pop/HipHop/Rock) Everything from Depeche Mode to Bon Jovi.

DJ I-QUEUE (that's me) playing old school hip hop, electro, funk & no wave.

80's Movies playing on the multiple Plasma Screens

Prizes for Best Costumes

@ Bauhaus / 9pm till late / FREE

196 Orchard St New York, NY 10002-1403


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

What, CNN can't take a little joke? 

CNN needs to relax. Depending on your point of view, this was just a harmless (or stupid) joke.

Ditto for Fox News although we already know they are humorless.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

The music industry shoots itself in the foot again -- special Canadian edition 

I'm no expert on these things but if sales of music are dropping, does it make sense for a label or an artist to spite music retailers, who are struggling through this downturn, by doing an exclusive deal with only one retail chain for a probable best-selling music DVD right before the holiday season? (Oh I get it, the thinking goes something like: "Let's try to get our product into as few stores as possible. That'll help boost sales!")

Well the answer apparently is yes, according to the ass-backwards logic employed by the team behind the Rolling Stones. Their recently-announced deal to sell the Four Flicks DVD set exclusively though the Best Buy chain in Canada has predictably raised a storm of protest amongst other music retailers.

I doubt Mick n Keef & co. are even aware of the ill-will this move is generating in their name but wonder if they'd even care if they were. This is just proof again though that the music industry doesn't seem to have a clue how to save itself and that most of its problems are of its own doing.

This is pretty much being covered by everyone now but Newsweek does a nice overview of what they term "Bush's $87 Billion Mess" in this cover feature plus some related op-ed pieces and news articles about Bush's muddled foreign policy management and the continuing instability in Iraq in this week's issue.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Time to get fly with Nike, LRG and the G-Unit 

I've been cribbing a lot of stuff from recently so one more time won't hurt. Peep some of the new limited edition Uptowns (that's Nike AF1's to you amateurs who jumped on the bandwagon recently post-Nelly) about to drop as well as some of the new Mark Ecko-designed G-Unit clothing line and new LRG gear line here. Time to get fresh-dipped. I just hope they're not using sweatshop laborers like Puffy supposedly is for his Sean John line.

Miss any of Bush's, frankly weak even for him, performance at his press conference this morning? Click here from some clips.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Fatman Scoop Hits #1 in the UK 

Congrats to my man, Fatman Scoop on hitting #1 on the notoriously fickle UK pop charts this week with his Crooklyn Clan collabo "Be Faithful."

I'm happy for Scoop, who I used to work with, before he sold his soul to the devil by going to work at Hot 97 as a DJ (kidding) and becoming a professional hip hop party motivator, but how did this happen? This record was played to death in NYC clubs and on radio at least 3 or 4 years ago and now it's a hit over there?!? Go figure.

One particularly cool thing about this story is that "Be Faithful" started out as a just another DJ record on renegade cut n paste, party breaks label AV8 and now it's beat a bunch of major label-funded and promoted records to the top of the one of the most competitive music charts on the planet. What's up with the Def Jam label affiliation on the chart listing though, am I missing something here?

With Scoop and the Black Eyed Peas having topped the UK charts recently, who could be next to blow 'cos it looks like the Brits are in one of their periodic hip hop swoons. My money's on Ludacris's "Stand Up" (especially since they've commissioned Fatboy Slim to remix the single) but I wouldn't count out one of these out-of-nowhere dirty south jawns produced by Lil Jon that are killin' New York right now if they haven't already been released there.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, October 27, 2003

Hip Hop on TV this week and Vibe magazine starts to actually get good! 

Need a fix of hip hop from TV this week? Click here for some options (info courtesy of SOHH).

Also, check out the current (Nov) issue of VIBE magazine which actually has some interesting articles for once. A short but illuminating interveiw with Tarantino in which he talks about Kill Bill and Spike Lee. Also, a nice feature on the new wave of young MC's coming up in the game including, pun intended, Dr. Dre's new protege The Game. I've said it before but I like this kid a lot. He's like a blend of Black Rob, Xzibit and Dre vocally. He spits that G-sh!t like Kurupt and Daz back in the day but with the fire and witticism of thugged-out backpack MC's like Royce the 5'9" or Canibus (back when he was good). Check out some of his flavor on the DJ Whoo Kid's recent Westside Reloaded tape (there's probably newer stuff out than that so surf around or hit your local hood mixtape spot for more).

Finally, there's also a well-written piece (no surprise: Joseph "Jazzbo" Patel did it) titled "Minority Report" on Bob Johnson, Charlotte Bobcats owner (and the first African-American to be a majority owner of a major league sports franchise) which also examines the factors behind why it's so hard for minorities to step up from being workers (athletes and, only recently, coaches) to owners in pro sports. Ironically this article is not mentioned on the magazine's cover which probably says something about the mindset of the urban music community right now. Old boy flipped his much-derided cable channel for billions to Viacom and re-upped to a frickin' major league sports franchise. Now that's big pimpin'. F-ck just an article, he should have been on the cover of the magazine 'cos he's making much-celebrated urban moguls like Russell Simmons, Damon Dash and P Diddy look small-time with that power-move.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Sunday, October 26, 2003

You may as well... 

... get familiar with the covers of the only hip hop albums kids will be listening to for the next few months by clicking here and here.

By the way, in all seriousness, I think this is gonna be hot. I've never felt the need to buy a Fabolous album in my life even though he's put out some good singles but he's been spittin' crazy on a lot of the mixtapes I've bought recently. This isn't that surprising considering that's how he came up in the game under DJ Clue but I think More Street Dreams Pt. 2: The Mixtape might really be worth copping especially if they sale-price it. Fab gets props just for keeping the artwork gulley, mixtape style, even though this is an offical label release, which a lot of other mixtape DJ's and artists doing mixtapes don't do when they go legit.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Happy Birthday wishes, Mark Ronson's debut album appraised and something for the soccer fan in your life the  

My sister and I just gave this DVD box set to our Dad as a gift for his 70th birthday which is today. This acclaimed, and seemingly comprehensive, documenatry series was originally shown on PBS I believe and has footage of super-rare early soocer games including the first known film footage of a professional soocer match from like 1897 and every goal scored in a wold Cup final. If you know someone into "The Beautiful Game," you need to get them this set.

Not to get all personal and mushy today but props also have to go to my Mom for throwing a fantastic birthday party for my Dad on Friday: the whole house was decorated in a festive halloween style, a great buffet dinner with a million deserts plus a surprise live steel pan performance to boot. My mom is known for throwing good parties but she definitely topped herself this time. And it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy: Happy Birthday again, Dad, hope you have a good one.

np: Mark Ronson's Here Come the Fuzz. For those who don't know him, Mark is a big club DJ in NYC known for spinning an eclectic mix of commerical hip hop, R&B/funk classics and rock n roll for the young, rich, beautiful and famous at various parties and events mere mortals like you and me have no hope of ever getting into.

What most people, who may have a passing awareness of Mark's DJ career, don't know though is that he's also a pretty talented producer and musician. I got put up on him by my man Max Nichols when he did a cool remix for De La Soul 's "Dinninit" (from the Stakes is High album) using a sample from Lowrell's "Mellow, Mellow (Right On)." Until now though his best-known production work was on Nikka Costa's underappreciated soul-rock album Everyboy's Got their Something.

Here Comes the Fuzz is a natural progression on from his work on that album. It's uneven and, as a whole, little crunchier and more organic-sounding than his big room, party-rockin' DJ style but it offers it's own pleasures for those who were expecting his DJ-sound on wax. The Saigon/Nate Dogg/Ghostface disco-laced hip hop club-rocker "Ooh Wee" has been criminally ignored in NYC (c'mon it mixes lovely with Mobb Deep's "Double Shots") and there are some other joints by Nappy Roots, Sean Paul & Tweet, a 60's-eque fuzz pop jawn with Rivers Cuomo from Weezer on vocals, as well as a cool rock-rap collabo featuring Mos Def and MOP worth checking out too. More for the bohemians than the hip hop puritans, peep this out if you can borrow it or find it cheap.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Saturday, October 25, 2003

The 40 greatest bands in the US today? 

The UK broadsheet newspaper The Guardian tabulated their list of the 40 greatest artists in UK music a couple weeks ago now does the same for the US. Is their list on point or way off the mark? The debate starts here.... My thoughts? I think they missed a lot of good acts, commerical (Nas, Jay-Z) and underground (Little Brother or Atmosphere for the nerd rap fans out there, anyone?) but that's subject to debate. They also did a decent job of acknowledging that a lot of acts making noise out there are doing so because of the producers behind their music like Timbaland, the Neptunes and DFA although leaving Dr. Dre off that list is inexplicable to me.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Ah-nold settles up & Jay-Z Changes Clothes and Goes 

I hope all the liberals who voted for Schwarzenegger in the recent California recall debacle are now kicking themselves after reading about this.

And erm... here's the official first Jay-Z single "Change Clothes and Go" from his forthcoming album. I have to say on a first few listens I'm severely underwhelmed. I think I like "What More Can I Say?" (see October 22nd posting) more than this but I'm sure radio will do their job and beat this into my head until I submit but you read it here first: if this is what Jigga's coming with, my anticipation level for The Black Album is starting to dip a little.

Also: worth checking out for electronica music heads is the new Earplug e-newsletter from the Flavorpill crew.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Friday, October 24, 2003

Here's more stuff you need to know about courtesy of the Center for American Progress 

The Center for American Progress's "Daily Progress Report" always gives you something you to chew on.

Click here for details on how to subscribe for yourself but read on to see what you're missing.

Is the Iraq War phase of the so-called "War on Terror" helping win over potential allies in the Middle East? The signs are not encouraging:
PUBLIC DIPLOMACY GONE BAD: Another indicator of whether we are winning the broader War on Terror is how well the U.S. is doing at changing hearts and minds in the Middle East - and the indicators are not good. FACT: An August AEI-Zogby poll found only 35% of Iraqis thought the U.S. would help Iraq over the next 5 years, compared to the 61% who said Saudi Arabia would help (despite their refusal to donate to Iraq reconstruction) . FACT: The 2003 Pew Global Attitudes Projects found that fewer than one-quarter of respondents in Indonesia, Turkey, Pakistan, and Jordan said they support the war on terrorism. FACT: The Administration’s own Advisory Panel found an “absurd and dangerous underfunding of public diplomacy” - which Rumsfeld himself virtually acknowledged. He said in today's Washington Times that the U.S. needs a “new agency” to help fight a “war of ideas” against international terrorism.
and on the economy:
Today's Paul Krugman piece examines the sorry state of employment under the current administration. Even if Treasury Secretary John Snow's recent pipedream prediction of the economy adding two million jobs before the next election--a forecast unsupported by the current growth rate or independent analysts--were to come true, "that won't vindicate the administration's economic policy." The current job market is "down 2.6 million compared with what it was when George W. Bush took office," meaning that, even if we add two million jobs, "his boss will be the first occupant of the White House since Herbert Hoover to end a term with fewer jobs available than when he started." (Question - where is the highly touted Commerce Department appointee that was supposed to fix the jobs situation?)

WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN DONE WITH THE TAX CUT MONEY: Krugman notes "in the current fiscal year, the Bush tax cuts will account for almost $300 billion of a deficit expected to top $500 billion. If that $300 billion had been used to employ workers would have created six million jobs ." Instead, a new Wisconsin study shows that, for at least that state, the tax cuts actually cost jobs. According to the study, the president's Council of Economic Advisors predicted that the Bush tax cuts would create 344,000 new jobs per month nationally. "Wisconsin's share of those jobs was to have been 12,104 by September. Instead, the state has lost 25,000 more jobs since that time."
This website is making my goal of sharing observations on political issues and stories that interest me way too easy. Do me a favor and just subscribe so I can spend all my daily blogging time talking about cool ish like mixtapes, sneakers and new 12" singles I've bought.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Pity poor Frances Bean.... 

The too-stupid-for-words stories just keep coming. Thanks to Max Nichols for the heads up on this one. Is it true that Liza Minnelli is the inspiration for the title of Love's upcoming America's Sweetheart album?

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, October 23, 2003

3 jumpoffs for NY and LA scenesters feat. DFA/Output, 2many djs etc. 

Here are 3 cool event dates and invitations in New York & LA courtesy of the crew down at the Tribeca Grand and best of all, admission is free for all three (RSVP to the email address noted with the event title in the subject field).

Thursday Night, 10/26/03, TriBeCa Grand, NY
Revl9n (Live) at 9pm sharp, in the Sanctum on the main floor.
at 10 pm on:
Output/DFA label Show case:
James Murphy, Trevor Jackson
Black Strobe, Colder (Live), Dead Compo (Live)
JDH, James Friedman, and an amazing surprise DJs
RSVP to:


LA Fashion Week, Sunday, 26th of October, 11 pm
In Hollywood at the Avalon & The Spider Room (1735 N. Vine, near Hollywood and Vine, Los Angeles)
Visionaire's/ V Magazine, TriBeCa Grand & adidas
celebrating Jeremy Scott Fashion Show and Collection
Performances by: 2 many DJs
PR: People's Revolution 212-274-0400
RSVP to:


Halloween on Saturday, 1st of November:
TriBeCa Grand, New York (Lower Level) at the Studio
2many djs and Tiga
RSVP to:

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

The first Jay-Z single from The Black Album is a go! 

Whoa, I must be losing my touch when the place I first hear about the brand new Jay-Z single from his forthcoming Black Album is by surfing the indie music website, Pitchfork media. So I wasn't sure whether I should go by their enthusiastic review of "What More Can I Say?" as to whether Jigga still got it but figured, if they're on the mark, it's looks like he's about to drop a heat-rock on the hip hop world.

Well 15 minutes later I surfed around and finally got to check out the track for myself and yeah, it's pretty hot (although it uses the same MFSB "Something for Nothing" sample as the Biggie/Tracey Lee duet "Keep Your Hands High" from Lee's underappreciated Maney Facez album, again with the Biggie references, yeesh. Maybe Nas had a point on "Ether.") . Click here to peep "What More Can I Say?" for yourself .*

Word is this is not the "official" first single from the album. That will be a jawn titled "Change Clothes" which will premier this Friday on AOL. As music website notes: "the concept of [the] BLACK ALBUM [was]: NO SINGLES, NO PROMO, NO VIDEO, NOTHING !! Jay-Z hasn't stuck to the concept at all..." But De La Soul said it first back in the day: Stakes is High, baby. Even, Jay can't take a chance putting out an album with no promotion. Or maybe he stuck to his vision but Lyor and Kevin stepped in and injected some reality into the proceedings.

I don't think it's really possible to add any commentary of value, humorous or not, to this story, is there?

Fred "Rerun" Berry R.I.P.

Elliott Smith R.I.P.

*link courtesy

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Clay saves the music industry (maybe) 

I'm not sure anyone will take this news as evidence that the music industry is finally in recovery but American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken's ridiculous 1st week sales for his debut album Measure of a Man just about guarantees that we'll be subjected to American Idol contests every year until we are all pulling social security checks.

For the haters who say "but how will his next album do?" I would guess that Simon Fuller, head of 19, the company that created and produced American Idol, and Clive Davis, head of RCA records, the label which released Clay's album, likely won't care one way or another. One thing's for sure though, I wouldn't wanna be in actual Idol winner Ruben Studdard's shoes right now...

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Fantasy vs. Reality 

Right, so let's recap here. We have:
Fantasy: "Victory" in Iraq


Reality: "U.S. sees spike in attacks in Iraq"
OK, carry on....

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wanna bitch slap a Rock Star and stainless steel soap (WTF)? 

Need a distraction during the day (besides writing a blog, that is)? Maybe you need to try out the new game Bitch Slap a Rock Star from At least seconds of mindless fun.

Does this really work? This ish is too weird for me.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Republican Iraq Propaganda 101 and why you should sign up for the "Daily Progress" email blast. 

Thanks to Center for American Progress for putting me onto this particularly nasty bit of propaganda. Is anyone buying this junk? I mean other than those who watch only Fox News every day, that is.

The CAP's new "Daily Progress Report" email blast is definitely worth signing up for. Get the day's news and issues as viewed from a more progressive, liberal point of view than you get from much of the mainstream media nowadays. Click here for details on how to subscribe and here's a couple tidbits from today's edition:
WHERE IS THE MONEY REALLY GOING? New reports have surfaced that Halliburton, the big energy company with close ties to Vice President Dick Cheney, has been using its contract to overcharge the U.S. government and the U.N. humanitarian fund. A "letter from Iraq's national oil company" released yesterday confirms "it pays far less to import gasoline than Halliburton" is charging the government and the U.N. Reports from both the Congressional Research Service and Iraq's national oil company show that Halliburton has jacked up the cost of oil for Iraq: While the "Iraq State Oil Marketing Organization said it pays between 90 and 98 cents per gallon to buy oil from neighboring countries," Halliburton charges the government $1.59 a barrel, then "receives a markup that could boost the price to $1.62 to $1.70." Much of the money for the oil has come from an American-controlled U.N. fund meant to "provide humanitarian aid to Iraq." According to a letter sent yesterday by two House Democrats, Reps. John Dingell and Henry Waxman, "Although it initially appeared that Halliburton was gouging only American taxpayers, it now seems that the company is overcharging the humanitarian Oil for Food program and the Iraqi people as well." President Bush has called for $900 million of the $87 billion supplement bill for fuel imports, although the Congressional Research Service has said the request "is asking for substantially more money than is called for by current fuel prices in the Persian Gulf trading area."
or this one about Bush's $20 billion Iraqi reconstruction budget request:
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: With $20 billion proposed to bring domestic programs to Iraq, there is confusion among many over "why Bush favors big-spending New Dealism in Iraq - building schools, roads, transmission lines and creating jobs - even as he resists comparable expenditures at home." Calling the push to bring focus on issues in the U.S. "Operation Home Front," lawmakers this week are "mounting a four-week offensive to bring attention" to the government's "failure to address domestic concerns." Tom Daschle and Nancy Pelosi "will lead the charge and attempt to highlight perceived GOP weaknesses on health care, the economy and jobs, veterans' benefits, education and the environment" until Congress goes out of session.
Subscribe, you know it make sense!

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Rumsfeld questions war on terrorism 

Is Rumsfeld angling to get fired because this looks like a pretty good way to make that happen if he is.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

The real reason record companies are doing so badly, Ghettopoly revisited, how to IM like a pro and is "real" hip hop finally back? 

New music supposedly in stores today:
- The Strokes Room on Fire (RCA)
- Basement Jaxx Kish Kash (Astralwerks)
- Loon (Bad Boy)
Funnily enough most of these releases I only found out about by accident. I just happened to be listening to DJ Clue's show last night on Hot 97 and Loon was on. I haven't seen much in the way of impactful marketing for his project (although I do remember seeing a couple of print ads in The Source and XXL). Most people seem to be taking Loon for a joke: a pretty boy, Mase-wannabe making records for girls but I know him from when he was spitting just like he does now before Mase was even out when he was in a group called Crime Fam. Trust me, this kid was gulley and reppin' this "Harlem World" ish before Mase and around the same time a pre-Diplomats Cam'ron was first coming out (this was when Big L was still alive and Herb McGruff was relevant).

Not sure how I even know that Basement Jaxx and The Strokes are supposed to be out today? I might have read it in a music column in the New York Times or something. I check out a lot of music websites, articles and magazines but embarrassingly enough I end up finding out about most release dates by reading the Best Buy, Circuit City and Tower Records advertising circulars in the Sunday Times. Unfortunately I didn't get any this week so I'm making a guess on these last two and may end up making a wasted trip out to the stores today. Overall, I guess this doesn't say much about the effectiveness or quality of record companies' marketing strategies when an active buyer like myself doesn't even know the release dates of albums I might want to get.

Is real hip hop back finally back? I'm starting to hear the DJ Premier-produced track "It's All Real" by Pitch Black all over the place. I've been seeing the video on BET's Rap City and even DJ Clue, patron to radio thug MCs everywhere, is spinning this jawn as well. You can watch the video here and reacquaint yourself with what real hip hop sounds like again. With a new Black Moon album just out as well, maybe it is starting to be 1992 all over again.

Update on the Ghettopoly story from a couple weeks ago: if you type the name of the game into the Urban Outfitters product search engine now and you get the following message:
"Due to customer concerns, Urban Outfitters no longer sells the board game 'Ghettopoly'."
Looks like the boycott or complaints worked. But here's a message to detractors by game creator David Chang entitled "Message to the haters." Looks like someone can't take the heat. How could he be surprised at the reaction to his game? Feel free to email this idiot if you want to address and rebut his "message" yourself.

Also, re : Urban Outfitters, here's an interesting profile on one of the co-founders of this urban, alternative lifestyle retail chain and his far-right political background from the Philadelphia Weekly. I guess it shouldn't be surprising that someone like this would have no qualms about carrying a product like Ghettopoly.

On a lighter note though, learn how to communicate like a pro with the modern wireless information-age, instant messaging teenagers and kids in your life with the AOL-er translater. If you're anything like me, this should help make you sound less like the 30-something dork that you are (maybe).

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, October 20, 2003

New music from A Tribe Called Quest, CMJ music guide and has REM become a nostlagia act? 

Wish hip hop sounded like it did in 1992 still? Besides Little Brother and some other lesser 90's hip hop revivalists, there's not much out there for you but the return of A Tribe Called Quest with a new single "I C U (Doin' It)," a duet with Erykah Badu from the new Violator compilation that hit mixshows last week, might give you hope. Also likely to be the first thing we'll hear from their much-rumored reunion album, it sounds very Slum Village in style but the production is vintage (latter-day) Tribe: rich deep bass and drums just like we all remember and love. The lyrics also sound contemporary and relevant without pandering (too much) to the thugged out, jiggy and dirty south hip hop sounds that dominate urban radio today. All around, it's got me excited enough to anticipate the album whenever it's due out.

The CMJ festival hits NYC again this week. Here's a cool preview guide courtesy of the Coolfer website.

It looks like the Democrats still need a high quality candidate to go up against Bush next year, maybe they need to pay heed to this webiste.

Just pulled from a file labelled "duh!" a "State Dept. Study Foresaw Trouble Now Plaguing Iraq" but it was ignored by the Pentagon, the Defense dept and Bush senior planners of the Iraq invasion leading to the problems we have now. But it looks like the Neo-cons have had a reality check as to what the situation in Iraq really is and that Bush might be finally coming to his senses and ending his unilateral stance WRT the UN's involvement over there. Once that's all been sorted out, maybe we can get a congressional hearing into why "Companies Get Few Days to Offer Bids on Iraq Work" as detailed in this article in the Times.

Click here to see a little clip of the new Tehcnics SL-DZ1200 CD turntable in action.

Next, I gotta give props to an old college friend Colson Whitehead on getting a feature in today's New York Times about his upcoming new book, an anthology of essays about New York City entitled "The Colossus of New York: A City in 13 Parts."

Also, congrats to one of my neighborhood restaurants Grocery on being ranked the #7 best restaurant in New York in the new edition of Zagats. I've never been there and now, of course it'll probably be impossible to get a table.

Finally, has REM become a nostlagia act? Chris Suellentrop seems to think they might have in this article on the Slate website. Since I haven't given a sh!t about their new albums since I was in college like 12 years ago, I think he might be right about that.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Friday, October 17, 2003

Hot whips and hip hop tops rock n roll on the charts 

Hallelujah, itunes is finally available for PC users. Time to cop an ipod, if you don't already have one yet (like me) and make an honest music consumer of yourself again.

Congrats to Ludacris on debuting at #1 with his new album Chicken & Beer over the new greatest hits colelction from Elvis Presley (details here.)

I think the debut album by the much-hyped DFA-produced punk-funksters The Rapture is finally out. Check out some of it here.

It's not only commerical rappers like Nas, Jay Z, 50 Cent and Ja Rule who like to beef. Check out 7L & Esoteric dissing underground and critical darling El-pee of Company Flow and Def Jux fame here.

Electronica-punkers The Prodigy, a group who were hot like seven hundred years ago or something, are finally putting out a new album according to Billboard's website. Does anyone still even care? Same for the Chemical Bros. who were hot around the same time. They just dropped a Greatest Hits album which is normally the first sign of a career in decline (although I did like a new track on the album called "Get Yourself High" but I only heard it once so don't quote me on that).

Here's a review of the "Throwback CD of the Week", Kurupt's Tha Streetz Iz a Mutha:
This album sat on my shelf for 3 years before I finally cracked the wrapping to check it out and decide whether to keep it or sell it but guess what? This CD is a slept-on classic. If you like The Chronic, Doggystyle, Straight Outta Compton, Chronic 2001 or Amerikkka's Most Wanted etc. you need to cop this immediately. Kurupt is spitting fire blending backpack-ready, literate ryhme flows with straight gangsta talk just like back in the hey day of the Death Row era when he, Snoop, Daz and The Lady of Rage were coming up killing freestyles on tracks like Dre's "Puffin' Blunts and Drankin' Tanqueray" and Rage's "Afro Puffs (Extended mix)."

The beats are classic West Coast from club banging and car riding G-Funk to some old epic-sounding NWA-era sh!t. Dre handles some of the production as well as being on "H-'s a Housewife" (which strangely reappears on his 2001 album 3 years later, WTF?). On top of that you get Snoop, Nate Dogg, Daz and KRS-One on the mic, other beats by Organized Noize, Daz and Soopa Fly and the bonus beef cut "Callin Out Names" where Kurupt went at DMX and Ja Rule way before the 50 era jumped off and Ja Rule was gettin' ruled out by everybody. Seriously, do not sleep, you need this album in your life.
If you're sick of the conservative slant on TV and the radio and their incessant attacks against the mythical "liberal media bias", please support the new company AnShell Media if you can because they seem to be fighting the good fight for more balanced coverage of news events and politics.

Is HBO's K Street gonna be cancelled or is that just speculation on the part of the writer of this article in the

How hot is this, the new 2004 BMW 6 Series or the Porsche Cayenne (the current object of my consumer lust)?

Congrats to Jarome Iginla of the Calgary Flames on becoming the first black captain in the NHL according to the EURweb website.

And finally....

Go Yankees.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Bush gets yet another pass and some "old school" films get discussed 

How does Bush keeping getting away with it? Why France, Germany and Russia are backing down on their demand that the UN take over central control of Iraq and plan for a power-hand off to the Iraqi governing council (according to an October 15 Washington Post report here) is beyond me. This could hand Bush a major diplomatic victory in the Iraq debate. Unless the situation there continues to worsen and then the blame will remain solely in his and the US's hands. On second thoughts maybe this makes complete sense from the perspective of France, Germany and Russia.

And in the world of movie sequels, read this story about plans for a sequel to the 80's teen film classic Sixteen Candles. This is either inspired and will blow up or is possibly the worst idea ever, I'm not sure which yet.

Speaking of older movies I just watched Straight Outta Brooklyn a couple nights ago for the first time. I don't know what people were smoking back when it was first released but this has got to be one of the worst movies ever made. I don't get why this film got the positive critical attention it did back then. I can watch an art-house or indie film and enjoy them for what they are without their low-budget look affecting my judgement. The acting in Straight Outta Brooklynis, mostly, actually pretty good (peep Larry Gilliard Jr. from HBO's The Wire in what must be one of his first movie roles) but the story and scriptwriting are attrocious. The father character makes no sense throughout most of the film leaving you going "huh?" and upset that they wasted George T. Odom's obvious talents. A script editor and a few rewrites could have easily transformed this story from a hack piece into a compelling and classic urban drama. Instead it came off like a really ambitious but badly-executed film student work which, in a way, it kind of was.

The only level on which I can give Straight Outta Brooklyn any props is the fact that Mattie Rich was crazy young (19, I think) when he wrote, directed, financed and produced this film purely from the sweat of his own hustle without the trappings, connections and resources of being signed to a major studio or graduating from a fancy film school. Ironically, after touting his street cred and how it helped him make this debut work and keep the feel of it authentic, he went on to film the movie The Inkwell, a coming-of-age story set in the black, preppy enclave located in Martha's Vineyard of the film's title that was basically a ripoff of the 1971 film, Summer of '42. While The Inkwell pretty much got trashed by critics, I actually enjoyed it a lot. Larenz Tate was great in the lead and, to me, is one of the most underrated actors working today. Watch Menace II Society, a "hood flick" classic that's much more than just that to see Tate's range, if you don't believe me.

I'm also in the middle of watching Beat Street right now. This movie is pure frommage especially in terms of some of what passes for "hip hop" music in the sountrack and the storyline but, as someone who lives in New York now but sadly missed the hey day of hip hop culture's genesis and early development, I still love watching this movie even if Wildstyle and Style Wars do a better job of getting it right. Look for scenes of Crazy Legs B-boying in the big battle scene at the Roxy. He's a legend now but he's not even one of the 5 hottest cats in that scene. WTF? There's cameos from tons of artists too but you can check the IMDB for more info on who's in the cast.

pass and some "old school" films get discussed" title="Bookmark using any bookmark manager!" target="_blank">AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Baseball Playoffs Special Edition 

There are few words to describe how awful I feel and what I have experienced within these last 24 hours. I've been a Cub fan all my life and fully understand the relationship between my actions and the outcome of the game. I had my eyes glued on the approaching ball the entire time and was so caught up in the moment that I did not even see Moises Alou, much less that he may have had a play. Had I thought for one second that the ball was playable or had I seen Alou approaching, I would have done whatever I could to get out of the way and give Alou a chance to make the catch. To Moises Alou, the Chicago Cubs organization, Ron Santo, Ernie Banks, and Cub fans everywhere, I am so truly sorry from the bottom of this Cub fan's broken heart. I ask that Cub fans everywhere redirect the negative energy that has been vented towards my family, my friends and myself into the usual positive support for our beloved team on their way to being National League champs.--Steve Bartman, 26, Northbrook IL (in a written statement released earlier tonight read by his brother)
Final score tonight: Marlins beat the Cubs 9-6. Congrats to the Marlins on advancing to the World Series.

BTW, how weird was it watching Billy Corgan singing "Take me out to the ballgame" during that game tonight? In my book, that's a pretty big fall even from the depths that his last band Zwan managed to tread in briefly before they completely faded away.

I'm not really a hardcore baseball fan but damn those Red Sox. Between all the drama with the Cubs last night (and the fact that they lost the NLC after being up 3-1 in the series) and that wacky brawl in Game 3 on Saturday during the Sox-Yankees game, suddenly baseball has become a lot more interesting to watch.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Did Dick Cheney used to play for the Cubs? 

Kill Bill: over-hyped or actually good? I saw it this weekend and liked it, gore, spurting blood and all. Surpsingly, even though the movie was chopped in half, the ending was satisfying to me as well despite some negative crtical comments about it.

Clearly this is a movie where style and feel trumps substance but there is actually a story that is unfolding nicely and it's a lot of fun to watch. The fight scenes are really well-choregraphed and it's a shame that this film didn't come out before the Matrix Relaoded because the Wachowski Bros. could have taken some lessons on how to stage their Neo vs. multiple-Agent Smiths rooftop fight scene from the Tokyo restaurant battle scene here. Tarantino could also show them how to divide one long movie into a credible two-parter the right way. I predict a lot of the visual imagery will eventually find its way into other films in the next couple of years. Me, I'm looking forward to Vol. II next February.

Smile of the day: I hate to evoke the old cliche that "what-goes-around-comes-around" (or as I prefer to say it: "Karma is a muh'") but I wasn't too surprised or upset to read this article ("The Cheney Curse" by Daniel Gross) on about Halliburton, the oil-services and construction company formerly run by Vice President Dick Cheney and their current financial performance. You get questionable sweetheart, multi-billion no-bid contracts from your former boss and you still can't get your profits up? Did Cheney used to play for the Cubs or something?

Speaking of the Cubs, is this the most hated man in Chicago? He better hope that the Cubs win tonight.

Here's a cool site with album cover art and the original albums that inspired them.

Some good music I copped last week on wax (click the song title links to hear audio samples):

Playgroup -- "Make It Happen" 12" (Output) includes a hot Zongamin remix of title track and bonus cuts "Number One (Chicken Lips Remix)" and the Optimo remix of "Overflow"

Rolling Stones -- "Sympathy for the Devil" Remixes (Decca UK). Cool remixes by the Neptunes and Fatboy Slim

Cookie Monster -- "C is for Cookie" (Ninja Tune Import) re-release of this great track from the Sesame Street Fever disco knock-off album from back when we were all a lot younger. This remix (the first ever done by Larry Levan) shows why he really was as talented as his legend suggests.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Is Bush's War Plan Scarier Than He's Saying? 

You'd think Bush might be more conciliatory about the lack of effectiveness his unilateral foreign policy/preemptive military action stance has had in light of the ongoing attacks and missteps in Iraq. But he's not according to the cover story article "The Widening Crusade" in this week's Village Voice written by Sydney H. Schanberg. Apparently, Bush would be happy to gear up for Iraq-style attacks in Iran and Syria. Read it and see (yet again) why this man scares the sh!t out of me and many others. Some people never learn from their mistakes. Fortunately, most of them aren't running the most powerful country on the planet.

I really hope the new Washington-based liberal think tank the Center for American Progress can get their act together and build a liberally-based alternative to the radical right agenda that currently seems to have the US (or at least the US government's public and, especially, foreign policy) in a headlock. Read about their efforts as led by John Podesta, Clinton's last White House chief of staff, in Matt Bai's October 12th New York Times Sunday Magazine acticle "Notion Building" here.

This needs to happen quiclky because American are currently too easliy swayed to the wrong response (i.e. the Iraq war) by things like this flash movie entitled "Blood of Heroes." As I said to my friend Shuggie Gray who kindly sent me this a couple of weeks back, it's scary to consider that the manipulation of this kind of imagery and rhetoric under the guise of "patriotism" was what got people revved up in support for the war in Iraq in the first place.

Meanwhile, the freedoms that soldiers are supposedly over there fighting to preserve are being quietly stripped away by the government under the guise of the Patriot Act. The blood of these heroes is being spilled needlessly in Iraq when places we should be confronting, like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Indonesia, who really do harbor terrorists, are labelled as allies and left untouched (huh?). Consider this too: what if someone did a fancy animated flash movie like this about the thousands of innocent Iraqi's and Afghanis who have been killed by the "War on Terror" since 9/11? How would we all feel about seeing something like that? One to grow on...

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Special "White people in hip hop" edition: Posh Spice not getting gully after all and is this the next Marshall Mathers? 

According to an article ("Posh dumps Dash to save her marriage" by Rav Singh & Polly Graham) in the UK tabloid News Of the World , Posh Spice from the Spice Girls has dropped her plans to record a hip hop album (I'm guessing she was trying to be a Brit Mary J Blige or Ashanti and not actually trying to rap... I hope):
VICTORIA BECKHAM has ditched her hip-hop career before it even started in a bid to save her marriage, we can exclusively reveal.

Posh has told husband DAVID BECKHAM she has canned her £3 million collaboration with DAMON DASH and is going back to pop.

More importantly, it means that rather than spending half her life in New York, where she has been working with Dash, she will have more time with Becks in Madrid.

The News of the World revealed three weeks ago that the couple's marriage was in crisis because of the amount of time they spent apart.

A well-placed source in the Beckham camp told us: "This will mean Victoria doesn't have to keep flying to New York all the time.

"She's making a real go of their marriage and this will definitely help fill the cracks that were beginning to show."

David isn't the only one delighted with the decision.

Victoria's manager SIMON FULLER never backed her bid to make it in hip-hop. Our insider said: "Fuller is pleased that Damon is out of the picture.

"He never liked the idea of a hip-hop album. It was a huge risk.

" Posh was one of the world's biggest-selling artists with the Spice Girls and had a huge pop following. Fuller wants to capitalise on that.

"This is her last chance to make it as a solo artist so it has to be done right.

"She can do it again but Fuller holds the key for her comeback plan.


"He's in contact with the best songwriters in the world because of Pop Idol, which is his show. If she listens to him there is no reason why she can't make it again."

Pop svengali Fuller was furious that Dash threatened to sue Posh's label Telstar for money he says he is owed for recording her hip-hop tracks.

The source added: "Dash has shown what he can be like by falling out with everyone connected to Victoria. She's embarrassed by the whole thing.

"Damon has a bit of a reputation as a bully in the US and has tried doing that over here, which hasn't worked."

MC Posh RIP.
Source: News of the World online
This is actually probably better news for Roc-a-fella than Beckham because this was probably one of the worst ideas for a musical collaboration I have ever heard.

And speaking of white people in hip hop, check this video out. Wow, this is why some white people will never get hip hop no matter how much they listen to it. I hope this is a joke and not a sign of things to come because, if not, Marshall Mathers, as dope as he is, will have a LOT to answer for....

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, October 13, 2003

Update on the War on Terror & "Cool Hunting" tips for those who need them... 

Ooops, looks like somebody wasn't watching the barn door: "Taliban Suspects Escape an Afghan Prison" by Carlotta Gall (New York Times, October 12th)

Glad to see Bush is on the case as always especially re: the CIA leak scandal:
"The `Hunt' Stops Here"

WHEN it comes to operatives for Al Qaeda, President Bush said last November, "We're going to hunt them down one at a time, and it doesn't matter where they hide as we work with our friends and bring them to justice."

When it comes to Saddam Hussein, the White House spokesman Scott McClellan said last month, "We are continuing the pursuit, and it's a matter of time before he is found and brought to justice."

But it is apparently a different story when it comes to the White House leaker who whispered the name of a C.I.A. officer to reporters. "I don't know if we're going to find out the senior administration official," Mr. Bush said last week. "I have no idea."
Source: New York Times "Political Points" by Michael Janofsky, October 12th
Hmm, actually I guess not.

Finally, I might be able to actually afford some of those cool ltd. edition sneakers they carry at the Alife Rivington Club as they throw a sample sale this week:
What: Alife Rivington Club
When: 10/18-10/26; Mon.-Sun. noon-7 p.m.
Where: 158 Rivington Street, between Suffolk and Clinton Streets (212-375-8128).
Why: Limited-edition sneakers from Nike, Asics, Adidas, Reebok, Puma, Ellesse, and others are 50 to 80 percent off retail. Yohji Yamamoto for Adidas, were $325, now $115; Nike Dunks, were $80, now $40; Eley Kishimoto shoes, were $160-$300, now $40-$125.
You may have heard of the Hollertronix DJ crew out of Philly. Similar to Soulwax's 2 Many DJ's crew out of Belgium and Erol Alkan, resident DJ at the Trash club in London, these guys are the DJ equivalent of the mash-up culture (one of the few interesting things left to check out in modern club music.) which throws unrelated musical genres together to create something new and vital. The crew's first mix CD Never Scared sees them blending their beloved Dirty South, bounce and crunk hip hop with new wave, pop and 80's. The CD is available at Turntable Lab (scroll down to the bottom of the page to see listing) and reviewed as followed by the good folks there:
This is probably one of the most diverse, but comprehensible mixes you'll ever hear. This is more fun than blasting coke lines in Vegas, and it's musically sound. You'll hear the hottest baltimore jawns, the hottest new york club jawns, the hottest dancehall jawns, the hottest dirty south jawns all mixed up proper with pinches of the Stone Roses, the Clash, New Order, and Bjork just to satisfy the intellectuals. The sound is brought to you straight from North Philly's Hollertronix party which is held in a Ukrainian banquet hall, and stinks of cabbage, you know, the cheddar. Over an hour of continuously mixed music, including a make-out session portion for feelin on the booty. Guaranteed gully sound.
Finally does anyone know where to cop these "NYC housing project" t-shirts I've been seeing on the streets recently? If so, please email me. Their PC-ness and exploitative level may be dubious but they look fantastic. Probably the coolest t-shirts since the "Defend Brooklyn" joints jumped off in 2001.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Sunday, October 12, 2003

The sublime pleasure of Yoplait white chocolate raspberry yogurt 

My new current favorite flavor of Yoplait yogurt, white chocolate raspberry, is finally available in Brooklyn, hallelujah. Now I don't only have to enjoy this sublime pleasure while visiting my girlfriend in Westchester.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Is Clear Channel to blame for the Fannypack album bricking? 

Musical group Fannypack had one of the biggest hits of this summer with the novelty song "Cameltoe" but the album it was from So Stylistic from Tommy Boy Entertainment has bricked barely scraping to 15,000 units sold despite extensive press in the New York Times (like here and here), very favorable album reviews and the cover of this month's Urb magazine (subscribe here).

Tommy Boy label head Tom Silverman is quoted from a recent music industry conference as blaming the over-use of "call out" research in the radio industry at major radio chains like Clear Channel according to this piece in the "Intelligencer" column of the October 20th issue of New York magazine (scroll down to read). Not sure if this is justified or not but it does highlight a couple of issues that have been hotly debated in the music industry: how the recent consolidation of the distribution channels (radio, retail, TV etc.) has narrowed the number of slots available for new music and artists to be exposed through and how much harder that has made it for indie labels like Tommy Boy, with their smaller promotion and marketing budgets, to compete with the major labels.

Despite the gimmicky nature of "Camletoe," I'll admit that I was surprised at how good an album So Stylistic actually is. That being said I'm not sure the average buyer felt compelled to buy an album of this stuff after hearing just that one single plus, did ayone ever actually ever see a video for "Cameltoe"? Even critic's darlings like Basement Jaxx need more than just press hype to sell albums and if radio won't give you love, then you better hope the video outlets will.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Friday, October 10, 2003

The Mystery of Lauryn Hill, Bookcharts finally "Fair and Balanced" and is the RIAA this desperate? 

There's an enlightening but heartbreaking article in the current issue of Rolling Stone about why we haven't heard from Lauryn Hill since her landmark soul-hip hop masterpiece The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill in 1998 (I'm not really counting Unplugged 2.0 as a real album even though I must be one of the few people who actually enjoyed it). I hope that Lauryn is able to confront and deal with whatever demons she has in life not only because I'd like to hear more music but so she can live her life the way she wants free from the expectations and pressures from others. Back when she was flipping everyone's wigs on The Fugees' The Score and with her own album and redefining what it meant to be black woman in hip hop, I would never guessed her life would turn out this way.

Man, 12 million people bought her debut album. I doubt we'll ever see those kind of sales numbers again for a music album in the digital download world we live in now. No wonder the RIAA is advocating policies like this to save the music industry (probably).

The public believes most of media has a liberal bias (see yesterday's post about the recently-released Gallup study)? Maybe they're right as the besteller book lists are starting to get filled up with liberal-oriented and anti-Bush titles, something no-one would have imagined in the period right after 9/11. I think this is a healthy sign for the US. Hopefully now they'll be some more balanced debate and questioning by the media, the government and the public of some of the madness that has passed for foreign policy and civil liberties and individual rights protection in the last two years.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Is the media really liberal? More Tarantino Kill Bill interviews, the Ghettopoly controversy and the "Recall Arnold" movement starts now. 

The "liberal media elite" is such an overused term it's become a cliche now but turns out, the US public actually believes it according to the results of a Gallup Poll survey contained in this press release. I wish everyone was being brainwashed by a liberal media. It would be better that than having everyone watching Fox News and being completely misinformed by falsehoods which is what must be happening, at least according to this Baltimore Sun article.

The buzz on Kill Bill continues to build with more interviews with Quentin Tarantino appearing in Newsweek here, the New York Times here and the Washington Post here.

More proof that some people will never understand hip hop. David Chang, an Asian American immigrant, "inspired" by watching MTV's Cribs decided to create a hip hop-based version of Monopoly called Ghettopoly. Predictably it's offensive and racist in its portrayls of inner-city life and use of demeaning ethnic stereotypes of all types but in particular African-Americans. Luckily a boycott is fermenting and Hasbro, the official manfucaturer of Monopoly has already come down on his clown-ass. I'm not letting hip hop off the hook though. When you take an incredible artform and social movement and pimp and disrespect it with some of the minstrelsy that passes for real hip hop, then why would you expect others to respect and portray it (and us) properly? BTW: wanna join the boycott? Email Urban Outfitters, a retail chain carrying the game right now, and let them know you won't patronize their stores as long as they carry this product.

Now that Gov. Davis is out, it's time to Recall Arnold before he even has a chance to take office and inflict more damage in California. Some people are never happy. The backlash starts now....

Over the summer, news broke that Bristish-style taxis were finally heading to the US (see USA Today article here also). For anyone who's ever been to London, you know these cabs are the bomb: roomy, comfortable, in short everything US cabs are not and should be. Well they're finally here and I actually saw one of the fleet of 2 that are already being used in the town of Bronxville in Westchester County, NY this week. This really isn't news, I just think they're really cool and this is an idea whose time has come and not a moment too soon.

OK, I've been pretty vocal in my support of Outkast's new album. Here's a good article about this group calling them the best group in America by one of the best hip hop writers around, Sasha Frere-Jones.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Gray Davis is terminated and a guide to music for Californians to celebrate or commiserate with. 

Well I guess Californians thought having a circus of a recall election less than a year after electing their current governor wasn't embarassing enough and have now actually voted Arnold Schwarzenegger in as their next governor by a pretty wide margin if the exits poll numbers on TV are to be believed.

Let me sugggest some music for Californians to, depending on who they voted for, celebrate or commiserate with:

Republicans will need some kick-ass tunes to celebrate to and should look no further than the debut album Get Born by Jet. As on their first single "Are You Gonna Be My Girl, " Jet play modern, bluesy cock-rock that recalls the best bits of AC-DC, Oasis, The Beatles and the Rolling Stones in a fun, trash-your-house-partying-while-your-parents-are-out kind of way. Ignore the sappy ballads (which, who knows, might still grow on me and will probably be the records that'll make Jet superstars) and you've got yourself a nice CD to play as you plot your plans for taking over Sacremento.

Democrats will need music to sooth their wounded souls by as they contemplate their loss tonight and ways to make the new governor's life as tough as possible when he takes office. I recommend Dwele's excellent debut CD Subject for the job. Dwele, the voice on the chorus of Slum Village's suprise summer 2002 hit "Tainted," might not be quite as creative or talented as neo-soul contemporaries Bilal or D'Angelo but his grooves and production recall the easy-going, vibed-out feel of his fellow Detroit peeps in the Slum. Playing Subject will leave you feeling calm and relaxed which is just what you need when you've gone through something catastrophic like an election defeat. Here's hoping Virign Records can do right by my man whose first single "Find A Way" seems to not have found a way and been lost in the sauce. Props to my man Collin Stanback for bringing this artist to the public's attention though. Nice one, Collin.

BTW: I wonder how Gary Coleman, Larry Flynt and Mary Carey (aka Mary Cook) ended up doing?

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Bush (practically) admits his failure in Iraq, the 40 hottest music groups in the UK, is Clay Aiken for real and is Wesley Clark a real Democrat? 

The NY Times continues to cover Bush's foreign policy failure not only during the Iraq war and the current "reconstruction" but also in the lead-up to the war with articles like this one. "Report Offered Bleak Outlook About Iraq Oil" published yesterday reports that the Bush administration knew it was optimistic to assume that future Iraqi oil production would be able to finance the costs of the reconstruction based on information in a Pentagon-based Task Force report prepared as part of the Iraqi war preparations. As the US taxpayers are about to shoulder billions of dollars in additional financial burdens in Iraq, this is just further proof that Bush misled Congress and US public in order to justify this idiotic war and post-war debacle.

It should come as no surprise that his continued ineptness would come to a head as team Bush also annouces that they are overhauling the Iraq and Afghan Mission (there were defined missions there?? I couldn't tell). Bush has long stated that he is banking his presidency and legacy as leader on the success of war on terrrorism. This "overhaul" is probably about as close as Bush will get to an admission of failure for now (after his inital mini-mea culpa at the UN a couple weeks ago). However, his abject failure so far to find Bin Laden, Hussein and policies and diplomacy that have actually destabilized the Mid-east, encouraged terrorism and alienated former allies who should be sharing the logistical and financial burdens in this war show that his legacy will be one of failure.

And before I leave the Iraq topic for today, I had to post this: bringing democracy and a free press to Iraq? Not according to this piece "Let Us Entertain You" in "The Reading File" column (after clicking the link, scroll down a little to read) of yesterday's NY Times. I don't think any further comment is necessary here.

Had a short debate with my good friend Noam yesterday at brunch re: the sincerity of Wesley Clark's credentials to run as a Democrat. He seemed assured that Clark was true to the cause but the NY Times examines the evidence and leaves the issue far from settled based on reporting on this article. While he's certainly looks like the strong (and electable) candidate on paper that the Dems have been looking for, there still seems to be many questions surrounding who this man really is and what he stand for. Hopefully Clark can pull his candidacy together and deliver on the potential his supporters claim he possesses in the next year.

Not sure I agree with the whole list but here's the 40 hottest current acts in the UK according the The Guardian newspaper in London. David Bowie but no Ms. Dynamite? Hmm, not sure about that but a good general primer for those who want to know what the next sh!t is because Clear Channel and Viacom probably ain't gonna put you up on it (with the exception of MTV2).

As for music industry in the US, is this the future of the music biz and their star-making process here as Time does an interesting profile on American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken and his record label RCA Records as they prepare his album for release. Love him or hate him, this kid seems to have a real good sense of his own artistry and place in the market which leads me to believe he may be around a lot longer than most people would bet with or without the help of American Idol. I give him credit just for being able to stand up to his label boss and A&R guy Clive Davis in a creative battle of wills. No easy task based on what I've heard about this music biz legend.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Saturday, October 04, 2003

Hip hop makes history and trouble for P. Diddy? 

It's normally bad news when hip hop makes the mainstream media but this really is history in a good way: according to hip hop news website, for the first time in Billboard's chart history, the top ten songs in the country are all by African-American artists. If this isn't proof that hip hop really is the new rock'n'roll and the dominant music in pop culture, then I don't know what is.

Here's this historic top 10 song list in full:
The Billboard Hot 100
Top 10 Positions /Issue Date:October 11, 2003

1. Baby Boy, Beyonce Featuring Sean Paul
2. Shake Ya Tailfeather, Nelly, P. Diddy & Murphy Lee
3. Get Low, Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz Featuring Ying Yang Twins
4. Right Thurr, Chingy
5. Frontin', Pharrell Featuring Jay-Z
6. Damn!, YoungBloodZ Featuring Lil Jon
7. P.I.M.P., 50 Cent
8. Into You, Fabolous Featuring Tamia Or Ashanti
9. Stand Up, Ludacris Featuring Shawnna
10. Where Is The Love?, Black Eyed Peas
Source: © 2003 Billboard/VNU Business Media Inc., and Nielsen SoundScan
On the flipside and back to reality, there were serious accusations made about Sean"Puffy" Combs by former Bad Boy Records executive and Mary J. Blige manager Kirk Burrowes re: his involvement in the shooting death of Tupac (2Pac) Shakur 7 years ago as reported in the NY Post last week. It all sounds a little outlandish and I'm not convinced there's any credence to the charges made. I know Kirk a little and he never struck me as the type who would throw these types of accusations around lightly but, if it's true, it would be a neutron bombshell in the hip hop industry and community.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Friday, October 03, 2003

Can the 2% solution save the US? The future of DJ-ing and more Rush, Gavin and Iraq... 

William Holstein writes a review of Clinton administration advisor Matthew Miller's new book The 2% Solution in The New York Times. The book talks about how extreme partisanship prevents government from finding solutions to some of the US's more persistent socioeconomic problems. However, the most intriguing part of the review discusses Miller's argument that the US's most pressing problems could be solved by spending just 2 percent more than the government does now as follows :
Here's the breakout: $80 billion a year to finance health care for those who can't afford it, $30 billion to make teaching in poor schools an attractive career choice, $85 billion to establish a living wage of about $9 an hour; $2 billion for well-financed school vouchers and $3 billion annually to create the campaign finance system, including $500 million for administrative expenses. Mr. Miller then plunks down $10 billion to make preschool universal and $10 billion to repair deteriorated schools. That adds up to $220 billion, or 2 percent of the gross domestic product of roughly $11 trillion for 2004.

"For 2 cents on the national dollar, we have a country where everyone has basic health coverage; every full-time worker earns at least $9 an hour; poor children have great teachers in fixed-up schools where they show up ready to learn; and we've created a way for politicians to run for office (if they want to) without special-interest cash," the author says
Holstein discusses Miller follow-on argument that this increase in spending could be offset by spending cuts and tax increases. It's an interesting idea although tax increases are like kryptonite to US taxpayers (As Bush has observed and nimbly exploited with disasterously spectacular results so far in his administration) and his proposal of a 60 cent on the gallon tax on gasoline to reduce our dependence on foreign (read Mid. East) oil is pretty much a non-starter in the US. That being said, the book is well-reviewed and might be put on my "To Read" list if I can ever get through the two year backlog of books on my night stand now.

I should have had more faith. Rush Limbaugh pushed his luck a step too far and was forced to "quit" yesterday for his ridicuclous remarks about Eagles QB Donovan MCNabb on Sunday (ubelievably Slate tries to make a case for Rush being in the right. Bananas!). On top of that now it's being alleged he's also a drug fiend hooked on Oxycontin and other drugs and is facing an investigation. I should have known so should he, karma's a muthaf---er. Smile of the day by far.

From the file labeled "What the F--k?" what the hell was this marching band thinking? Maybe they go to the same high school as the kid in this article as free speech is real free based on these stories (thanks to Shuggie Gray for the t-shirt story lead and Nadine for the marching band story lead).

Or maybe not, as many feared when the Patriot Act was enacted, the government is now using the invasive powers the act granted them in many investigations that are in no way terror-related. As was anticipated by the few real patriots who stood up and tried to stop this flawed piece of legislation from being railroaded through, this act used the 9/11 attacks and the resulting terror hysteria as a smokescreen to slowly chip away at out civil liberties and privacy rights. Why is no-one else scared about this? At least this was front page news in the NY Times on September 28.

More updates on the "Hipublican" pheonomenon as I've now learned conservative hipsters have been labeled. There's been much discussion in hipster circles (of which I am not a part unless you count those who stand on the periphery as impartial, outside observers as part of the "hipsterati"). So it turns out Gavin McInnes is just a provocateur in general which gives me to a whole new lens through which to read Vice magazine now. I just picked up the newest issue today and I guess I'll never take articles like "Cum vs. Moisturizer" (Vice settles the score as which is better for clearing up zits) seriously again. I guess he's been catching a bad one on the NY Times article I mentioned yesterday and has offered several others explanations/apologies for his comments here on Gawker and, as discussed on the antic muse blog, here and here. I think I'm over this topic now but you know where to go now for further updates....

I DJ for fun in my very cool music room (although it's cool to get paid to spin too) and I've collected vinyl for years. I love my collection (2500+ pieces I think though I've never really counted) that has taken me over 20 years to amass but now that I actually do a little DJ-ing at clubs and lounges (email me if you want to hire me by the way), I realize what a huge pain the ass it is to lug 4 or 5 heavy crates of vinyl around esp. by yourself (I guess record boys are for more famous DJ's than me, no homo). Plus I don't even have my own car and have to borrow my good friend Shuggie's old Toyota Celica "Buddy" to get me to my gigs.

It would be great if more spots started to use CD turntables like the Pioneer CDJ-1000's which work just like vinyl turntables and made me look forward to the day when every DJ booth has them so I can stop buying wax and carry a couple small (and light) booklets of CD's instead of my flight cases. (Yeah, I'm not that emotionally attached to the concept of having to support and use wax like some DJ's. Especially after having used the CDJ's.) I've been coveting my own CD turntables since first using the Pioneer jumpoffs but have to say that, when that day comes, I may have to put the CDJ option on pause and consider buying the upcoming Technics pictured here which I just heard about. I have to say I almost came on myself when I saw them. I don't even know how well they work but they look so hot, they have to be blazing! By the way, I'm listening to Cutmaster C's "Keep Talkin" mixtape. This sh!t is ridiculous top to bottom. I guess whatever petty beef he has going with DJ Big Mike has put a real fire in his belly 'cos this is the best mixtape I've heard in a long time (although I have a few other new ones I picked up today to check out so that title may be short-lived). Murder Inc's "G-Unit Killaz" and Busta and Spliff's "Top Billin' 2003" (I'll add links if I can find some) are just two of the many hot jumpoff's on this tape. As they say in the TV ads: "Go cop that, son!"

Oh yeah, the situation only gets worse in Iraq as discussed here on the MSNBC/Newsweek site. I bash Bush pretty much daily now though, believe me, I take no solace in these attacks and loss of life. I only wish, Bush would drop his bloody-minded, divisive, unilateral stance, admit his strategy has been flawed from the jump and bring in the UN or real international coalition to help stabilize the situation there. And by the way, they still haven't found any WMD's....

AddThis Social Bookmark Button